Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Certifiable: CNP, RNCP, RHN, NNCP and Other Suspect “Accreditations”

The team of nutritionists at D’avignon Digestive Health Centre on Danforth Avenue in Toronto are an impressive bunch — just consider their qualifications:

  • Louise Comtois – CNP, RNCP, Colon Therapist
  • Heidi Horowitz – CNP, RNCP, Live Cell Analyst
  • Marnie Ryan – CNP, Colon Therapist
  • Natasha Audette – RHN, Colon Therapist
  • Jane Sloan – CNP, NNCP, RhA

CNP, RNCP, RHN, NNCP. I single out D’avignon only because they came up at the top of my Google search, but the story is consistent across the nutritionist community — there are an awful lot of letters next to the names of practitioners. So what exactly do they all mean? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Skeptic North » Erik Davis*

Home Or Office, Women Can Get Fit Anywhere

By Barbara Ficarra, RN, BSN, MPA

Good news: You can get fit and toned anywhere with simple exercises.

My good friend works at a major company in NYC and she’s fortunate since she’s able to hit the gym on her lunch hour. If you have a job that allows you the time to go to the gym, that’s great. Not everyone is that fortunate.

As women we have so many responsibilities and we’re so busy. Trying to juggle work, family and friends can be a struggle and it’s not always easy to find time to exercise.

Truthfully, you don’t need to belong to a gym to exercise. Just keep moving. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or if you sit behind a cubicle, it doesn’t matter who you are. There are simple exercises that you can do anywhere.

I asked fitness expert Karen Ficarelli to share some simple tips to help keep you toned, whether you’re at home working or at the office. Karen suggests these easy moves to help tone your butt, thighs, calves, abs, waist, back, arms, shoulders and thighs. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

The Friday Funny: Science Versus Pseudoscience

I know this one’s been floating around the blogosphere for a while, but it finally made its way to me at a time when I needed something lighthearted and amusing (warning: some profanity and at least one use of the “F” word):

Best quotes:

“Well, science doesn’t know everything.” Well, science knows it doesn’t know anything, otherwise it would stop … But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairytale most appeals to you.”

…”nutritionist” isn’t a protected term. Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. “Dietitician” is the legally protected term. “Dietician” is like dentist, and “nutritionist” is like tootheologist.”

“I’m sorry if you’re into homeopathy. It’s water. How often does it need to be said? It’s just water. You’re healing yourself. Why don’t you give yourself the credit?

I just wish more comics did routines like this. Sometimes humor can get the message through where analysis can’t.

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

When Doctors Are Sent Ketchup, Not Drug Samples

Today marks a new phase in my medical career – I’ve been sent a bottle of ketchup for my consideration. Until now I’ve received pharmaceutical pitches and drug samples for my patients… but I’ve now entered a new phase in my life. I am a target market for condiments.

And how did this purveyor of organic ketchup find me online? I was blogging about how difficult it is for patients with diabetes to avoid high fructose corn syrup these days (it seems to be a required ingredient from spaghetti sauce to peanut butter) and I explained that I was a carb conscious person myself, and had recently purchased some unsweetened ketchup as part of a sugar-avoidance strategy.

The next day a nice man asked if he could send me a sample of his own brand of ketchup, sweetened with agave nectar instead of corn syrup or cane sugar. I said it’d be fine for him to send it along, and a few days later there it was: Wholemato brand organic agave ketchup.

So I did a little taste test, comparing my Westbrae Natural Vegetarian Unsweetened Ketchup to the Wholemato brand. The Wholemato guy was right – it was head and shoulders above the other brand in terms of flavor and sweetness. Of course, it has 3g of sugar/serving, while the sugar-free version has 1g/serving. My organic Heinz ketchup has 4g/serving, and parenthetically – I went to the Heinz site and found that they have a new marketing campaign around customized ketchup labels. Kind of quirky. Who knew?

It seems that agave nectar contains ~90% fructose (if you can trust the sources online) which means that it’s “sweeter” than glucose-based cane sugar (which is 50/50 glucose and fructose, and high fructose corn syrup is 55/45 fructose and glucose). So what does this mean? Correct me if I’m wrong here but I just interviewed Penny Kris-Etherton about corn syrup and she told me that it’s the FRUCTOSE that is the real problem in terms of increasing blood lipid levels and requiring more insulin output.

So I feel really badly about the nice agave man who sent me the delicious ketchup – but the nutritionists are saying that agave is actually much WORSE for you than corn syrup if you’re a diabetic.

I don’t think that small amounts of any kind of sugar is worth fretting about (unless you have diabetes) – but trying to avoid cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup by switching to agave syrup is kind of like getting out of the frying pan and into the fire.

And with that blog post I think I’ve ended my career as a condiment tester unfortunately. Of course, I do like the taste of agave nectar. :-|

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »